Research Topics


The U4 Blog

Learning & events

About Us

U4 Issue

Is mutual accountability feasible? A conceptual discussion with policy implications

Mutual accountability is one of five principles of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness. Yet comparatively little has been written about this principle and how it is operationalised. It remains ill-defined and poorly understood by the stakeholders involved. A review of the existing literature and analysis of experiences of operationalising mutual accountability, primarily in Africa, point to ways of strengthening this principle. This includes engaging in dialogue with multiple stakeholders on the full range of relevant issues before a mutual accountability framework is put in place. Also, a thorough political economy analysis of the entire mutual accountability chain, with a risk assessment as an integral part, should be undertaken. Donors should encourage recipient countries to introduce performance contracts for senior civil servants with a view to monitoring performance over time and to providing incentives for behaviour in accordance with the standards of a rule-based and accountable public service. Donors on the other hand should chart exit strategies that provide recipient governments with clear indications as to how long and at what level of support they are likely to engage under normal circumstances so as to ensure predictability of aid flows. Finally, a strong anti-corruption lens should be included in mutual accountability concepts and practices.

14 December 2012
Read onlineDownload PDF

Cite this publication

Hechler, H.; Tostensen, A.; (2012) Is mutual accountability feasible? A conceptual discussion with policy implications. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Issue 2012:11)

Read onlineDownload PDF
Hannes Hechler
Arne Tostensen


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)